Essential tasks

  • Assembling the search team. The search team does more than carry out the work of the search. Its members listen to and weave together all the voices involved and embody the spirit of the church to candidates.
  • Selecting the search team leader. In order for the search team to do its work well, there must be a process facilitator who empowers, encourages, and attends to details.

Reflection questions

  • What must each search team member be willing to commit to?
  • Who feels called by God to carry out the work of this search?
  • Who has the spiritual maturity and process facilitation skills needed to lead the search team?

Best practices

  • Following denominational/judicatory/congregational protocols for selecting or electing a search team and search team leader
  • Pinpointing the optimal number of search team members
  • Looking for search team members that are:
    • Not lobbying to be on the search team (indicates an agenda)
    • Respected by the congregation
    • Engaged with the congregation
    • Spiritually mature
    • Able to work well with others
    • Able to balance personal loyalties with the needs of the whole congregation
    • Willing to be candid and confidential
    • Enthusiastic
    • Available to attend meetings and complete team assignments
    • Representative of different gifts and demographics
    • Unrelated to one another (exception for family size churches)
  • Considering the appointment of a search team chaplain or spiritual guide (non-voting member who helps team stay grounded in spiritual practices)

From the candidate's perspective

  • Could be serving elsewhere with no thought of seeking a new position.
  • Could be seeking a new call and keeping ears perked for opportunities. Might begin tracking your congregation’s progress through the transition time and looking for a position announcement.

Are we ready for the next stage?

  • We have selected a well-balanced search team that is excited, committed to the work, and respected by the congregation.
  • A leader for the search team has been named.
  • The names (and in larger churches, bios) of the search team members and point of contact (usually the search team leader) have been communicated to the congregation as a whole.

Go to next stage

If you want to read more